Wednesday, March 7, 2018


From New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous novel set in the Gilded Age, full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: he's the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he's recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she's having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay's sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips? (Synopsis from Amazon)

THE ENGLISH WIFE has a lot going for it. Ms. Willig adeptly captures the era and its societal mores and strictures well.The characters are relatable enough that readers can easily become vested in them and their situations. An engaging story with plenty of twists that flows seamlessly into the mystery, who killed Bay and where is Annabelle? Is she dead too? 
Now, I'm not sure if this was intentional but there's a pervasive sadness, from beginning to end. This sadness can also be used to describe the characters lives. It's as much a character as Amanda, Bay, Anne, Mr. Van Duyvil, or Janie. I've thought about it and the book wouldn't be the same, nor as good, without this sadness. For me, the sadness makes the book.
THE ENGLISH WIFE is a good solid read all around.
3.5 stars

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